There is no more frightening issue in international relations today than the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the possibility that they will fall into the hands of aggressive dictators or terrorists. For 12 years, the man charged by the world community with averting this calamity was Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei.
An Egyptian diplomat with a doctorate in law from New York University, he was a member of the delegation that negotiated the peace settlement with Israel at Camp David in 1978. In 1991, he headed the UN inspection team that demolished Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program. From 1997 to 2009, he served as Director General of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), founded 40 years earlier at the instigation of President Dwight Eisenhower.
From observing the opening of a radiation clinic in Ghana, to leading grueling negotiations with the leaders of North Korea or Iran, ElBaradei carried out his duties with patient resolve, and won the respect of the world. In 2005, the Nobel Prize committee honored Dr. ElBaradei and the agency he led for his courageous efforts "to prevent nuclear energy for being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way." After retiring from the UN, he returned to Egypt to lead a national movement for democratic reform. He now serves as Vice President of Egypt in the government of Interim President Adly Mansour.